Sunday, June 18, 2006

Hill of Wildflowers

We have a steep hill along our backyard. We've been planting wildflowers on it for the last 3 years. This year two flowers dominate the hill. In the past we've had more of a mix but the Sunflower and the Black-eyed Susan have taken over.

We haven't decided what to do when there are more dead blossums than live blossums. One landscaper recommended that we cut everything back to 12 inches and the flowers will set more blossums. Another landscaper suggested doing nothing but it starts to look pretty poor. If you have dealt with this issue let me know what you think worked best.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

My End is not near!

I’m only 59 years old. I feel like an 18 year-old inside the body of a 45 year-old. Old is a relative thing. When I was really 18, Old Age started somewhere between the ages of 50 and 60. Now that I’m between 50 and 60, albeit barely, Old Age doesn’t start until after 70. I’m not there yet but I am getting closer to it even though it is moving away.

This week I was working with a young woman around 30 years old. While discussing sleeping habits I mentioned that I like to wake up early – between 4 and 5 AM. She said that she was a night person and doesn’t go to bed until after midnight. I added that I am also a night person and I, too, stay up late. I said, “I just don’t sleep long now that I’m older”. She asked me if I didn’t sleep long because I’m thinking about dying soon.

What the …! I haven’t even reached Old Age but this young woman thinks that I’m close to the End. I’ve heard people say, “He died of Old Age”, but he wasn’t 59! Maybe 99 or 89 but not 59!

Do I look like I’m about to expire? I have a nice tan on my face from my convertible sports car. That’s not the look of Near Death!

Since my conversation with this young agent of doom I haven’t been sleeping well. I realized that this was not the first time that somebody has thought that I was near the End.

A few years ago I attended a reunion of sailors that had served on the Navy destroyer USS Braine. I'm one of the younger sailors from one of the last crews. Some of the attendees had served on the Braine in WW2. During one story telling session, one of the older sailors learned from one of my shipmates that I have had hepatitis C for several years. The old sailor was shocked. He told me that he’s known two people that contracted hep C and both died after only a few years. One of them had been married to one of his friends. Since USS Braine reunions were held every other year, this old sailor thought we should meet every year for the next couple of years WHILE I WAS STILL ALIVE!

It was funny the first time but now I’m getting concerned. I'm concerned that these suggestions could shorten my life. I’m only 59! Even my wife is contributing. Since January 1st when I tell somebody that I’m only 59, she says “You’re 60 this year.” Yes, I’ll be 60 in October; however, right now I’m only 59 and I just don’t require a lot of sleep.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Believe in Him and Love

Karen’s latest post at The Sword's Still Out addresses the question “If He loves us so much, why is all this bad stuff around…? Why aren't our prayers answered?” I agree with Karen but you’ll have to read her post like I did.

I have no reason to believe that I know what God is doing in this world. As for what I should be doing it seems to me that Jesus is the best if not the only indication of what God expects of me. Believe in Him and Love. If I act out of Love I will also be both good and helpful. I certainly don't know if God is answering my prayers. I really have only two prayers. Help me to Believe. Help me to Love. It's a work in progress.

A lot of people feel that they know in very specific terms what God doesn't approve of. Based on Jesus I know that God disapproves of Not Believing and he disapproves of Not Loving. I don't know anything else.

When anybody says that God wants me to do something other than Believe in Him and Love then I quit listening to that person. When anybody says that God disapproves of something other than Not Believing and Not Loving then I quit listening to that person.

That's it. Believe in Him and Love.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Will America Abandon Goodness?

The Pentagon has omitted a key tenet of the Geneva Convention that bans "humiliating and degrading treatment" in an unpublished revision of the Army Field Manual regarding interrogation. Most of the world is already convinced that the US is torturing detainees. Will this formal change in directive eliminate all doubt? The Pentagon believes that interrogators should be allowed to use harsher methods with detainees than are generally allowed for prisoners of war. If we reduce our standards what treatment can we expect for our soldiers when they are prisoners of war. In the past the US military was required to meet the "spirit and intent" of the Geneva Convention. Now it appears that we are looking for wiggle room within which to expand our definition of acceptable interrogation techniques.

Will America now abandon being Good? Our standard must require absolute Goodness or we are abandoning Goodness altogether. The standards for our conduct should not vary with the application. A detainee is no less human than a prisoner of war. We are no better and can demand no more from others than the worst of our own conduct.